Triple the Pomegranate

Monday, January 25, 2010
I'm not sure how to begin the post. It seems my posting has become pretty infrequent lately, but I really can't help it. I haven't done much baking, so there's nothing for me to post. And I became guilty and sad and distraught and fearful and lonely and... I needed to bake!

I also have a confession. I won. I won a giveaway. Like, over a month ago? And I didn't tell you about it... Whoops. Call it lazy, because that's what it is. Susan over at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy had a POM Wonderful giveaway and I won some fab goodies. I got the Nigella Christmas cookbook and POM Wonderful juice! YESS! I've heard so much about it and now I could finally try. And only now I've gotten around to using some.

What to make? I have 6 lovely bottles and I needed a recipe. To tell you the truth, it didn't take long to decide. I am obsessed with cupcakes and it's no secret. So pomegranate cupcakes it is.

Pomegranate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and grapefruit juice together. Add zest.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/juice mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Mix in pomegranate seeds.
10. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
11. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: These cupcakes tend to rise quite a bit and will overflow if you put too much batter in the cupcake paper. Keep it under two-thirds full.

But what could make these over the top and fabulous? I've been away from baking for awhile and I need something with a wow-factor to prove I can still do this thannng. A filling. A pomegranate inspired filling. Mousse. Yes, mousse would be wonderful...

Pomegranate Mousse Filling:

4 cups POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
Extra fine sugar
Lemon juice
1 pint Heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
5 Egg whites

Mix juices and fine sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 1 hour or until mixture has reduced to about 1 cups of liquid. Pour into a separate bowl, cover and chill in refrigerator.
Mix cream and powdered sugar in a chilled mix bowl until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Beat egg whites until still. Fold in whipped cream and 1 cup of juice reduction into egg whites. Gently mix until fully incorporated Set aside remaining cup of juice reduction to drizzle over frosted cupcakes.

Frosting. It can't be overwhelming and detract from the pomegranate flavor. Cream cheese is out. No chocolate, but that's pretty much a given with me. Butter cream. You can never go wrong with butter cream. And add a pomegranate twist. Because like I said, we're going over the top with this one.

Pomegranate Butter cream Frosting:

3 sticks Butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp clear vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
Pomegranate juice. (Add by tablespoons until it's the taste you like.)

Cream butter until fluffy and smooth.
Add powdered sugar and mix on low. Add vanilla and milk. Beat on high until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Frost or pipe frosting on to cupcakes.

End product?
BEST EVER. I ate four in one night. But let's pretend I didn't. The cupcakes themselves were really light, but the butter cream adds a heaviness. The mousse is really light and fluffy and adds a huge burst of flavor.

I actually had a TON of extra batter. So once I reached twenty cupcakes, I made a cake with the left overs. I had plenty to fill a 8 inch round pan. This worked out well because I wasn't able to make the mousse that same night. So I could at least try some of the cake to know if it was tasty. Honestly, it was the best texture I've ever had in a cake. And I think it was better than the cupcakes. I would definitely make the recipe as a cake again. With the butter cream of course!

SnackFace Cheetahs!

Friday, January 22, 2010
Today is the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. My school always sends a group to go but I decided not to go this year=/ Last year had some pretty bad moments.. But those of us who came to school were treated with a half day! I didn't do anything all day. Today was the last day of the quarter so the teachers had to get their grades in and not worry about starting new lessons. Overall, it was a fun day!

Since I wouldn't be eating lunch at school, I could make something special to eat! Thank goodness I had sweet potatoes in the house. The adorable blog SnackFace has an amazing recipe that almost everyone knows about. Her famous Chu-Chu-Chu-Cheetahs! I have been longing to try these and follow the trend of sweet potatoes. And I'm so glad I did!

1 Sweet Potato
(sprinkle cinnamon on the coins for a sweet treat version)

Put foil on a baking sheet and lay slices of your sweet potato on it. You can use non-stick spray, but I didn't. Bake for 15 minutes on both sides or until black spots form. (Like cheetah spots!)

Enjoy with PLENTY of ketchup!

These were so good and much better for you than french fries. They can be super versatile too, so I can't wait to have these again and again!

As a follow up dessert I decided to make protein powder cookie batter! I have protein powder that left over from volleyball season and I haven't used it in forever. I'm really glad I found this recipe because know it'll be fun to eat. Instead of grosssss.

Protein Powder Cookie Dough:
1 scoop protein powder
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tablespoon water
*I then added a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, my fav, and a small splash of milk. This greatly helped create a wonderful consistency. (And of course I added whipped cream...!)

This was so delicious! It is such a great idea for dessert. And it's healthy for you!

Later tonight I'll pretty much be having a repeat of last week. Basketball game, dinner with my best best friends, and then a sleepover! I can't wait! I was supposed to go to dinner with another group of friends before the game... but 2 dinners? As wonderful as that sounds I may have to pass=/

Go Chargers!

Birthday Eats=)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
So I'm finally done with midterms! Yessss! Honestly, a huge weight feels lifted.

Religion: Not my best work... But I really did know my stuff! It was all true or false and I'm a second-guesser type=/

History: Pretty good. My essays were bomb and I did better than most people.

Honors Pre-Calc: Well, I'd rather not talk about this one. Thanks goodness it only brought my grade down one percentage point. Then with honors weighting it should sky rocket=)

Honors Spanish IV: I have yet to see what I got. Considering my grade now, it better be good! Last year I won the Spanish in my Spanish III class, so this year its pretty weird how my grades are. It's the new teacher. La profesora es loca!

Advanced Chemistry: I just took it today and it was pretty ridic. We honestly asked her questions throughout the whole test. I was one of the few to actually finish! Oddly, I felt okay about it.

AP World Literature: If the title isn't enough to scare you, wait until you see the 200 question midterm! 200 questions in one hour! as I mentioned before I'm not too good at math, but that's like over 2 questions a minute right? I barely finished! It was open book and it totally saved me. (Thanks Mom for bringing it to school for me after I left it in my room. He he...) And again, oddly I felt good about it!

So the madness is over and I have a half day Friday. But let's not forget the real importance of these past few days. MY BIRTHDAY!

I had a busy weekend socially. Studying was not one of my top priorities. Unless you're reading this Mom, then it totally was! But Friday I went to a basketball game, out to eat, then back to my friend's house for a major BFF sleepover. Saturday I returned home and caught up on much needed sleep. I bummed around and watched Confessions of a Shopoholic. It was surprisingly good. Go Netflix! Sunday was the kicker. That morning was church, the fastest shower of my life, took my sister back to college, then around town (I'll elaborate more later), then ANOTHER sleepover. This time with some friends from musical. & one of my BFF's. We got ice cream in the freezing cold, went to see The Lovely Bones, and ate plenty of junk food. Monday (my official birthday!) I got home, attempted to study, then ended up going out to eat with my mom.

It was crazy but I loved every minute.

Now back to the"around town" business I mentioned.

We went hunting for cupcakes. Dozen cupcakes, Vanilla, and Coco's cupcakes were all on the list.

First we hit up Vanilla:

That's such a cute box=)

Vanilla cupcake with caramel butter cream.

I'll try and make this short, but I truly can't. The appearance of the shop was beyond adorable. So so so cute and inviting. It has lime green walls with pink accents and white borders. All clean cut and fun! Cutesy is a good word. The sell a lot more than cupcakes, like cookie, biscotti, muffins, and such, but they're famous for the cupcakes.

Do you see that?? That's all you could ever except of a cupcake right there!!

I now know why. I will never, ever, never ever eat another cupcake from anywhere else, unless I am force feed. I am promising you this right here and now. On the internet for all to see. (Although who really reads this?) BEST CUPCAKE EVER. My life is now complete, you can be sure. Okay, I must stop before I begin to cry out of longing. Go ahead and bet your bottom because I WILL be going back!

De-flippin'-licious! I even licked the wrapper clean! Don't judge me.

Then we headed to Coco's cupcakes:

Completely different atmosphere. The outside looked like a bank and the inside was dark, cold, empty, and uninviting. I'm not dissing it too badly here, but it just can't compare to Vanilla.

I got a vanilla cupcake (of course) with vanilla butter cream.

My mom got a vanilla cupckae with chocolate butter cream. No cute boxes here so it got smooshed=(

The cupcakes? Meh. I mean better than store bought (maybe?) and possibly homemade kinds. But nothing to call home about. It had a crunchy top, which was kind of weird. And it just didn't taste fabulous. I guess I was coming off the Vanilla high.

No time for Dozen unfortunately. We headed to Trader Joe's though and stocked up on plenty of Good Eats!

We had a left over 1 hanging around.

For more birthday fun, we went to the Market District Giant Eagle and bought a gourmet cake to celebrate with! I chose a white almond cake with raspberry filling covered in white chocolate shavings. There were so many to chose from it was overwhelming!

It was delicious and I'm ashamed to say how much I ate that night! Haha but it was soo good.


Monday, January 18, 2010
Today I am seventeen. I am in the midst of midterms and musical practices and am thoroughly overwhelmed. Therefore as of late I have not been blogging. Like at all. I apologize but I can't even promise you I'll be blogging within the week either=( I skipped this month's MS Cupcakes round ( I HATE coconut) but I am excited for next month's for sure!

As a birthday treat my mom and I went to 2 cupcake shops in Pittsburgh. I took pictures and I have some reviews I'd like to give. But I'll have to save that for a bit later. I am sooo tired as I write this. Two sleepovers this weekend. Midterms. Musical practice. And just catching up on sleep!

Okay back to more homework. but I can't wait to show you the cupcakes I got from Vanilla and Coco's Cupcakes!

Snow Day Cookies

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Yes I had my first official snow day on Friday. I know this is what every kid dreams of, but all I really wanted was a two hour delay. Now unfortunately I have none of the books or homework I had hoped to work on over the weekend with me. This is quite problematic but I prevail...

This however was a good thing in that I was able to bake, something I haven't done in a while. I had my heart set on a cheesecake, but with only two eggs in the house and only 13 oz of cream cheese I could see it wasn't happening. I did however make a cheesecake dip and which I devoured for breakfast. (I should warn you now that this was probably the unhealthiest eating day of my life, but it was all yummy!) So I ate the whole dip myself.

Cheesecake Dip:
by me!
(these were all eye-balled amounts)

Combine all ingredients:
5 oz. cream cheese

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp. powdered sugar
splash of milk
heavy sprinkling of cinnamon
drop or two of vanilla
any leftover
white chocolate chips in your pantry

*spread on bread rounds with dark chocolate peanut butter and you've found dessert bliss!!!

After that nourishing breakfast(just kidding...), I headed to my neighbor/friend Julia's house to watch all of Arrested Development Season 2!!! After that, we made a chocolate lava cake in her crockpot. I'm not really a fan of chocolate so we made another lovely treat. This one was pretty crazy. We took the regular Nestle chocolate Chip cookie recipe, and kind of played around with it using what we had. I love this recipe to begin with, especially the brown sugar, but we did some tweaking. Dark brown sugar was all she had and I think that's what made these fabulous. Also, they weren't chocolate chip. She had tiny peanut butter cups instead so we put those in! YUMMM! Also, our butter wasn't room temp. but since we were playing around, we didn't car and mixed it in anyway. We ended up with a struesel like topping. And you all know how I LOVE my struesel!! We ate a good amount of that stuesel before adding eggs or anything. Then the "chips" were added and we ate a lot more of that batter. Oh, and we also got ice cream and topped it with a ton of struesel. I told you I ate pretty crappy.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups peanut butter cup chips

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
With the leftover batter, and both cookie sheets full, we made one huga cookie in a cake tin. It came out beautifully but I never got to try it=( I did take some cookies home to enjoy later!

Don't worry, the next day, today, I ate a ton better! We had a breakfast of ham and eggs with pan fried potatoes and onions. For lunch we went to Cracker Barrel ( MY fav!!) and I got the signature chicken n' dumplings with fried apples, pinto beans, and THE MOST AMAZING BISCUITS! That's no exaggeration either. Like seriously, there has to be a Cracker Barrel near you, they're everywhere. Can you not agree with me on this? Best ever biscuits. Hands flippin' down.

We're looking to redo our bathroom so maybe I'll post some pictures throughout the renovation. Before and after kind of stuff. We'll see if I get to lazy or not=/

Tuna Cakes

Thursday, January 7, 2010
These are money!!!

Yeah I like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. So what? It's extremely addictive, especially if you like food=) But honestly I couldn't describe these puppies any differently. These tuna cakes/patties are the world's way of saying, "Here, have just a small taste of Heaven..." And trust me, one tase and you'll want more!

We tried them two ways, ones with the bread crumb mixed in and ones with bread crumbs mixed in and coated with bread crumbs. Both tasty. I liked our batch without the bread crumbs on the outside because they were crispier? Yeah, I think they were because we cooked them longer which meant the inside were nice and done. Whereas the coated ones had mushy insides, which I didn't find too pleasing. Still tasty though!

*So as a note, I think a little crispy on the outside means done on the inside, which is much nicer than a mushy inside. Trust me!

Tuna Cakes
from My Mommy

4 cans of tuna
2 eggs
1/4 + 2 tbsp milk
1/2 teaspoon onion flakes, 1/2 a small onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Italian bread crumbs (more if you want outside breading) panko would be fun
Vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients, EXCEPT vegetable oil in a bowl. Pour enough vegetable oil into your frying pan to fill it about 1/2 inch. Wait until your pan is hot. Then add about 4-5 cakes depending on your pan size. Don't crowd them and make sure you can handle the amount as well. Fry one side for about 2-3 minutes watching them carefully. Flip them over(it should be pretty easy) and fry them for about 2-3 minutes again, watching carefully.

Then take them out, place them on a plate, and put them in a preheated oven to keep them warm while you cook the rest.

Tuna Cake Dipping/Dunking Sauce
(I say dunking because I love it sooo much I tend to go a little heavy, however these cakes/patties are exceptionally good on their own!)

1 cup mayo
2-4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
? cocktail sauce
half a lemon or less squeezed (careful not to pout in too much, but it is necessary)

Combine all in a bowl. Keep tasting and playing around with the amounts until you find it to your liking.

Creamy Chicken Filled Turnovers

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I've been trying to do more cookbook recipes instead of frozen meals or fast food. Back to basics recipes. No I don"t mean Ina Garten, but just some good home cooking. Too often I come home and end up just throwing odds n' ends food items together and call it a "meal". No more. I want to sit down and have a nice dinner. Now, don't get me wrong, I do have parents but I've kinda taken over as the cook in the family so some of the responsibility is placed to me. And trust me, my mom cooks plenty of nice meals, but coming home at 5 doesn't give much time and I'm soo hungry at that point that traditional meals are far off.

So I took some initiative and pulled out some recipes. Beginning with a crowd pleaser that I knew everyone in my family would enjoy.

These chicken turnovers were great dipped in a sauce stolen from another recipe in the book. They could have been a bit creamier on the inside but that was hardly a draw back. These are a great appetizer idea but there is a ton of labor involved. With the3 pastry making, rolling, and cutting. Then chicken grilling and shredding. But they were fun to make and super good to eat!

Creamy Chicken Filled Turnovers
from Land O Lakes "Treasury of Country Recipes" pg 11

-1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
-1/2 c. butter
-2 to 4 tbsp. cold water

-2 tbsp. butter
-2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
-1 1/2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
-3 oz. cream cheese
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. thyme
-1/4 tsp. pepper
-3 tbsp. chicken broth

In 10" skillet melt butter; add onion. Cook over medium heat until softened (4-5 minutes). Stir in remaining filling ingredients. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted and heated through (2-3 minutes). Set aside.

Heat oven to 375. In medium bowl, combine all pastry ingredients except butter and water. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in water; shape into ball. On lightly floured surface roll out dough to 1/16" thickness. Cut with floured 2 1/2" round cookie cutter.

Place 1 tsp. filling on one half of circle; fold other half over. Press edges with fork to seal. Place on cookie sheets; repeat with remaining pastry and filling. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

I made this dip for the turnovers, because I just love the idea of having dips for everything. Honestly, everything I eat is better when one thing is dipped into another. I always eat like that. I guess it's the contrasting textures that makes me love it so!

from Land O Lakes "Treasury of Country Cooking" pg 8
1 c. sour cream
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp milk

Pan Toasted Garlic Bread

Sunday, January 3, 2010
Soo over chemical equations...

Yep. These ridiculous pictures explain my tiredness and frustration. But with reason! A 14 pg chem lab report is no fun over Christmas break. Esters and their formation anyone? Butyl Butyrate? Smells like pineapple. Butyl Acetate? Bananas. Okay enough of that. I handed it in and therefore I can forget allll about it. JK.

But writing a lab report does work up quite an appetite. My mom surprised my be coming home with tons of food, including mini bread slices. Those babies are perfect for mini garlic bread slices. This recipe is an easy way to make cheesy garlic bread super fast.

Pan Toasted Garlic Bread
from Land O Lakes "Treasure of Country Recipes"

1/3 cup butter (I thought this was too much and made the bread a little soggy)
1/8 cayenne pepper
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
6 baguette slices
*I think a sprinkle of paprika adds so much flavor and taste so I added it on top when the cheese was melted.

In a skillet melt your butter until sizzling. Stir in cayenne pepper and garlic. Dip both sides of each bread slice in melted butter. Cook over medium heat until bread is lightly toasted (2-3 minutes). Turn bread over and sprinkle each slice with about 1 tbsp. cheese. Cover and cook to steam the cheese until it is melted.